It’s been a wild week for Brooklyn Nets fans, with all sorts of questions about what Kyrie Irving’s future with the team would look like.
On June 27, Irving revealed he was going to opt in to his final year with the Nets and earn $36.5 million in doing so. Given recent reports indicating that he had been willing to opt out of his contract and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers for $6 million, his announcement likely brings a huge sigh of relief for the team and fans alike.
However, opting in hasn’t put an end to the rumors surrounding Irving. There’s a sense that a path to the Lakers could remain open. Brian Windhorst, speaking on the June 28 episode of “The Hoop Collective” podcast said that the two sides were still very interested in each other.
The Dream Is Alive
By picking up the option and coming back to honor the four-year deal he signed in 2019, Irving left himself open to a whole year of rumors, including the one that speculates about a reunion with LeBron James in Los Angeles. There’s still belief around the league that Irving could find himself there, according to Windhorst.
“I know that there are people in the league — and we’re not talking about ancillary people; we’re talking about high-ranking people — who believe that this is not done,” he said on his podcast. “I don’t know. Let me just say this about the Lakers. He obviously was very interested in joining the Lakers. The Lakers were very interested in having him.”
The situation now boils down to the Nets’ decision on what to do with Irving, who has started 103 games for Brooklyn in three seasons. Going into next year, the team has a Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons and Irving, so it’s a dangerous team on paper.
If Irving, who will be a 31-year-old unrestricted free agent at this time next year, is looking to get a max deal with another team, then he’ll need to have a very strong season.
Can the Nets Win a Championship?
This Big 3 stacks up with any around the league, but there are still some questions that need to be answered.
There’s no telling what type of player Ben Simmons will be considering he hasn’t played a game of NBA basketball in 14 months now. Irving and Durant are good individual players, but they never really got a chance to see how they play together throughout their time in Brooklyn.
The Celtics series was rough for them as they went out in a four-game sweep, but Irving did have a strong Game 1 playing alongside Durant. Getting Simmons back will help with the defense, but they’ll need to find a way to get more players around them.
Joe Harris and Seth Curry are good pieces if they can both come back healthy, but the bench leaves a lot to be desired. Nic Claxton, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Bruce Brown and Patty Mills aren’t locks to return, so they’ll need to figure out what’s going on there.
The makings of a good team are certainly there in Brooklyn, but they’ll need some more tinkering.